- Title: China declines comment on New York Times' move of Hong Kong office to Seoul
- Date: 15th July 2020
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (JULY 15, 2020) (REUTERS) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN HUA CHUNYING ARRIVING AT NEWS CONFERENCE JOURNALISTS SITTING (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN, HUA CHUNYING, SAYING: "I think the New York Times' arrangements for its staff or operations is their own business. We won't make any comments on the internal plans of a foreign media." MEDIA SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN, HUA CHUNYING, SAYING: "But I want to stress that China has said multiple times that the Hong Kong National Security Law regulates four severe crimes, which are severely damaging our national security. It punishes only a small number of people to protect the majority. The legal rights enjoyed by Hong Kong citizens, including that of foreign media and other foreign organisations and their personnel, will not be affected. As long as their reporting is done in accordance with the law, I don't think there's anything to be worried about." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS CHINA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY CHINESE FLAG FLYING HONG KONG, CHINA (JULY 15, 2020) (REUTERS) SENIOR LECTURER IN JOURNALISM, BAPTIST UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, BRUCE LUI, SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR LECTURER IN JOURNALISM, BAPTIST UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, BRUCE LUI, SAYING: "In the past, Hong Kong is very different from mainland China. It has its own freedom, and high autonomy, as promised. And it is quite a regional media hub for international outlets. We assumed that there was a firewall between Hong Kong and mainland China, and we have international practice, way of doing business (and) media reporting. But nowadays, we can see that there is a drastic change of Hong Kong policy. We are now synchronised with mainland China. What the policy Beijing (has) on foreign media, now it comes to Hong Kong." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR LECTURER IN JOURNALISM, BAPTIST UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG, BRUCE LUI, SAYING: "I should say the situation of Hong Kong now is really very dangerous. In the past, when you (have) done something very sensitive in Beijing, when you escape back to Hong Kong, you would feel safe. You can protect your source, you can protect your information, protect your personal security. But now when you, even (if) you come back to Hong Kong with those kind of information, all the reporting job you have done, you are in a very risky position. As if you are in Xinjiang, in Beijing, now." LUI SPEAKING
- Embargoed: 29th July 2020 12:18
- Keywords: Beijing China Hong Kong National Security Law New York Times Press Freedom US-China relations
- Location: BEIJING/HONG KONG, CHINA
- City: BEIJING/HONG KONG, CHINA
- Country: Hong Kong
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001CMX5007
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: China's foreign ministry on Wednesday (July 15) declined to comment on the New York Times' decision to move part of its Hong Kong office to Seoul just two weeks after Beijing imposed a new national security law.
The Times said its employees have faced challenges securing work permits and it would move its digital team of journalists, roughly a third of its Hong Kong staff, to the South Korean capital over the next year.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to comment on "the internal plans of foreign media," but said that the legal rights enjoyed by foreign media would still be protected by law.
"As long as their reporting is done in accordance with the law, I don't think there's anything to be worried about," she added.
Bruce Lui, a senior lecturer of journalism at Hong Kong's Baptist University, said that he believed the territory is no longer a safe haven for international media outlets.
The new national security law, which punishes what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, has stoked worries about freedom of speech and that of the media. Authorities insist those freedoms remain intact but say national security is a red line.
Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy, which has preserved the city's tradition of a freewheeling press and allowed international media to use it as their Asia hub.
(Production: Wang Shubing, Aleksander Solum)
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